Meeting held on January 10th, 2006
Report by Myles Dove, Westcombe Society Environment Committee
Sir Bob Scott (Chair) introduced the session by stating the original Greenwich Peninsula Framework prepared by Greenwich Council was now out of date and needed urgent updating.
Gave a presentation on her Company’s work in updating the Greenwich Peninsula Development Framework.
This is the planning document that sets the vision and standards for the re-development of the Greenwich Peninsula area.
Nicola Hammill, a landscape designer, explained that her team has just been appointed. There is to be an inspection of local sites and places where residential areas can be improved. There are currently security issues owing to the relatively small number of residents – currently only 10,300 on the entire Peninsula. A further 20,000 are expected with the MDL developments. The existing employment locations do not cater well for small businesses. There is to be a telephone survey of 200 small local businesses and workshops to research possible improvements.
Comments from the floor included a reaction from Ray Smith of the Greenwich Society who questioned whether they will be in touch with Trafalgar Road landlords who are currently restricting the development of Trafalgar Road and from Anna Townend who asked how the development fitted in with the current revisions to the Borough’s Unitary Development Plan (UDP).
David Campbell, Chief Executive, and Tobin Prior
David Campbell gave an outline of the scope of the AEG project which is also linked with Kerzner International who, it is hoped, will be their partners in developing the planned casino, hotel and other leisure components within the confines of the Dome and immediately adjacent.
These will also include a 10-screen cinema, an exhibition centre, a 2,000-seat music venue and music ‘Hall of Fame’ to be known as the British Music Experience. A detailed booklet entitled Greenwich Peninsula Leisure and Entertainment Quarter, Autumn 2005 was supplied to attendees. Mr. Campbell also described the work on the O2 arena to date. The whole development is based upon the precept that there are 6 million people living with a 45-minute travel radius of the O2 Arena. However, there are still questions of whether, despite developing a large arena and associated leisure facilities and a major new ‘Square’ the size of Leicester Square, people will find the attraction sufficient to make it worth them travelling there? The problem will be exacerbated significantly if permission is not given for the London area casino to be located within the Dome as this will also almost certainly mean that the Richard Rodger’s design for an iconic 350-room hotel tower to the N.W. of the Dome will not materialise. There are also, apparently, some issues with the requirements of the Code of Practice as stated by the 2005 Act.
It is planned to hold a major exhibition of the Treasures of Tutankhamun (booked for November 2007).
A New Heart for East Greenwich Update
Ralph Luck, English Partnerships & Dick Hogbin, Greenwich Council
Demolition of the old Greenwich District Hospital is due to finish at the end of May 2006. The mural facing on to Woolwich Road has already been taken down and handed over to L.B.G. for safe keeping. It is hoped this will be re-erected at Glenister Gardens, virtually opposite the previous site, ASAP. Because of the scale of the re-development of the site the future developer will need to comply with the relevant European bidding terms. It is hoped to be able to announce the successful candidate by the end of March. The development will be based on the outline brief that has already been the subject of significant public consultation. Some details of the Council component of the site were provided in a copy of the proposal document. They include a ‘leisure’ component of a leisure pool and a 25 metre ‘training pool’ together with exercise rooms, as a replacement for the current Arches site. There will also be a large Library that will replace the existing East Greenwich Library as well as a new Community College.
Bert Martin, Development Director
Mr. Martin stated that 20,000 people would eventually be living in the area of the Peninsula. A further 28,000 will work there. The current situation is that work is due to start on the Millennium Square (Piazza) on March 6th 2006 and take 12 months. In addition to the works on the Dome site itself, there will be changes at the two major ‘gateways’ to the Peninsula used by local traffic, Blackwall Lane and the Westcombe Hill/Woolwich Road/A102 East Greenwich Flyover junctions. These will be funded through Section 106 monies agreed with Greenwich Council. There would also be new planting in the new streets that will be created. There was also reference to the move of Ravensbourne College from its current location in Chislehurst to a site adjacent to the Piazza.
Second report by Ray Smith, Greenwich Society
Outline summary of proceedings
1 Successor document to the Greenwich Peninsula [formerly East Greenwich] Development Framework – Nicola Hamill of Atkins (formerly W S Atkins and Partners).
Atkins have been appointed by LBG to update a development framework for the whole of Peninsula Ward. The new Framework will have planning status, subordinate to the UDP; will inform development over the next 10 years.
Work stated in October; will undertake collaborative, consultative workshops with local stakeholders. These will inform a “vision”, which will then be subject of further consultation. Work to be complete by September.
- Movement: particularly the question of “movement thorough the A102M corridor”; seen as a barrier to movement in the ward; hindrances to public transport; improving the riverside walk, seen as uninviting.
- Development: does protected wharf status hinder development?
- Lack of open space.
- Development of “the town centre” (i.e. Trafalgar Road); the future of Lovells Wharf and the GDH site seen as key influences.
- Employment opportunities; most potential in the small business sector.
- RS asked: will the study question established policy, such a development north of Trafalgar Road having to be employment led, which is possibly an obstacle to acceptable scales of development? Answer: unlikely to.
- …and will the team meet with the major landlords in Trafalgar Road, who are seen as “short-termist” and the key factor in the lack of investment and improvement along TR? Probably not; will only talk to occupiers and tenants. But will take further soundings on that point.
2 The O2 (the Dome) – update and next steps – David Campbell, CEO of Anschutz Europe and Tobin Prior of Kerzner International
The O2 and its nearby Piazza will be an “integrated leisure destination resort”.
The arena within the O2 is being constructed; will have a 23,000 capacity with high quality seating; and will be sound insulated. It will host events at the 2012 Olympics; and also the 2009 World Gymnastic Championships. Will be opening in June 2007.
The O2 will also have cinemas, a theatre, a smaller “music club” (max capacity 2,200), exhibition centre (negotiations underway for Tutankhamen 2007), and an “ice pad”.
The inclusion of a “regional casino” will be important as a means of cross-subsidising other elements. The government’s decision on this will not be known until the end of 2006. Strong reassurances about “responsible operation” of the casino; it will be a separate and discrete entity, apart from the rest of the entertainment district; it will operate on a “cash only basis”, with no credit offered.
Hotel: intended to be an “iconic” design; a high proportion of five-star accommodation; will involve a new pier; success of the hotel will be in attracting overnight custom to the district – overnight visitors that are the high spenders.
The retail mix in the O2 will be primarily eating and drinking; more diverse in the Piazza.
- Michael Pike asked about the effects of the regional casino not being awarded to the O2. Would the whole scheme still be viable? There would be doubts about the viability of the hotel, the theatre and the exhibition centre. Must wait and see, but Ken Livingstone has strongly backed the casino coming to the O2.
- Nick Raynsford MP asked about the likely breakdown of visitors. Answer: daytime visitors will generally be from London and the Home Counties. Overnight stayers will depend on the types of events being put on (e.g. bands, exhibitions, championships etc).
- …and what plans to promote connectivity between “new” and “old” Greenwich (and this question supplemented by Pauline Clarke of the East Greenwich Traders’ Association)? Answer: Active plans to have a short-hop boat service connecting with the Town Centre. Also depends on the future of the Transit, but this is uncertain. Also plans to engage in joint ticketing with such as the NMM. Also discussions with established local businesses to ensure that the whole development brings mutually beneficial growth for both, not displacement of business from the old to the new.
3 “New Heart for East Greenwich” (the old GDH site) – Ralph Luck, English Partnerships
Most “soft stripping” now complete. Demolition should be complete by end-May.
About to embark on the EU Journal procedures for appointing short list of potential developer partners. Decisions by end March.
The development of the site will have to be looked at in the overall context of the development of the other related, LBG-owned sites in the vicinity; and will have to sound economically to enable LBG to have all its requirements included in the development.
Dick Hogbin, LBG Corporate Property Manager, said that LBG “outline design brief” had been circulated to members and LBG welcomed comments. [RS had seen this and thought it to be unremarkable. It is essentially a wish list of facilities (local service centre; leisure centre; library; adult education; youth facilities; health centre). The usual requirements: “high quality”, “flexible”, “accessible” etc etc. As has already been said, the end-product will depend on many other factors beyond LBG’s own wish list. The document is also available on the LBG website.]
- Jonathan Louth urged that, in the light of the “New Heart” proposals, Atkins should include in their brief the interaction between the development and Trafalgar Road. He referred back to RS’s point about engaging with the Trafalgar Road landlords and said that there was a strong case – in the Atkins context – for then development of separate Supplementary Planning Guidance for Trafalgar Road.
4 MDL and the Peninsula – update – Bert Martin, MDL
Work in progress on the development of the Piazza (aka Millennium Square); a large space, equivalent of Leicester Square. Proposed opening of the Piazza in summer 2007.
Improvement on public transport links: bus priority lane at Westcombe Hill/A102M; prevention of rat running in Blackwall Lane; route 108 priorities north of Blackwall Tunnel; remote traffic messaging in the wider region; escalator works at North Greenwich.
Embarking on soft landscaping (plants and trees); will consult widely; due to be finished mid-2007.
Discussions were well advanced for the College to be accommodated on the Peninsula. (https://www.ravensbourne.ac.uk/). Problem is that RC will have to fund the relocation and the deal with a property developer to develop the College’s site in Chislehurst has been blocked by LB Bromley. Discussions are continuing.
The Greenwich Society
20 January 2006